Bill Blair rules out wall for Canada-U.S. boundary

Physical barrier impractical, says Border Security Minister

Bill Blair rules out wall for Canada-U.S. boundary
Martin C. Barry

While a political battle rages on in the United States over whether to build a massive wall along the U.S-Mexico border to contain the flow of irregular migration, there will be no question of a similar barrier along the Canada-U.S. boundary, says the Canadian federal minister responsible for security along our border.

“I don’t believe a physical barrier is either practical on a 9,000-kilometre border or necessary,” Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair told Newsfirst Multimedia in a recent interview.

Different approach

Although U.S. President Donald Trump remains transfixed on building a wall along that country’s southern border to fulfill one of the Republican president’s most cherished electoral promises, Blair sees Canada taking an entirely different approach to the security of its border.

“Let’s keep in mind that even on irregular migration we’re talking about a 9,000-kilometre border, and perhaps 30 to 40 people each day are presenting themselves to cross irregularly,” he said.

Says system now works

“It’s manageable. It’s not preferable. Our preference is that people would go to the regular point of entry and that we would manage it there. But for those who are crossing irregularly, the numbers are still within our ability to manage. And I’m confident that we are maintaining the safety and security of our country.”

Blair said that Canada hasn’t much need to even think of having a border wall, since control of the boundary the country shares with its southern neighbour is based on “the collaboration and cooperation of law enforcement on both sides of the border. We are applying our laws and we are deploying our resources in a way that maintains security.

Using the law

“In other jurisdictions, in other areas of the world – not between Canada and the United States – there may be other challenges with maintaining the integrity of their border – and in those circumstances and in some areas some have found it necessary to have a physical barrier,” he continued.

“But we manage ours with law. It’s a filter. And we will absolutely keep out people who represent a danger or criminality in this country. But we also apply our laws for people who are entering. By international convention and under Canadian law if someone is seeking asylum, then they are entitled to due process. But there’s a right way of doing that.”